I became a fan of Yonaka after spending an entire day seeking out female-fronted indie rock bands to listen to. I also had the good fortune to discover Rews, Antares, Lucia and others at the time. But Yonaka really stood out for the quality of the riffs and the delivery of the lyrics and, when I saw they’d be playing in Glasgow, I snapped up the tickets.
With the ABC and its wonderous glitterball consigned to ashes in the Glasgow Art School fire, The Garage has become the defacto medium-sized venue in Glasgow for bands that draw too much of a crowd to play the likes of King Tut’s or Stereo.
The Garage isn’t quite as good as the ABC used to be but it is a decent venue and, on the night, we took our places on the right-hand side to give us both a decent vantage point and a shelf to place our coats and drinks upon.
We had arrived shortly after the doors open and the support was pretty good. First up was a girl with a keyboard whose name I didn’t catch and although I probably wouldn’t choose to listen to her music, I did enjoy the nervous energy in her performance.
Next up was the talented Liverpool artiste, Zuzu. Alongside her band. They made a rousing start and the hint of familiarity in their opening number totally thew me. I knew the lead singer of Yonaka was a tall blonde (not tonight she wasn’t) girl but I was almost tricked into thinking this was the main act until I realised there was a female guitarist too and the penny dropped.
After the big opener, Zuzu was curiously curt in her dialogue between songs that brimmed with a similar attitude. Having a soft spot for the scouse’, I quite liked her, as did the rest of the crowd and she seemed to warm to that, mellowing as the short set wore on. She even offered to “snuzzle” anyone who came to meet her afterwards!
After a short interval, we were all set for Yonaka and as the tension built the Glasgow throng launched into chants of “Here we… here we… here we f*cking go!” That broke way to a roar as the band took the stage, launching into Punch Bag – one of their earliest songs and clearly a crowd favourite.
The performance was everything I’d hoped for and more – the sound was fantastic in The Garage and the delivery of the songs came with an edge and an assured stage presence that convinced me Yonaka are going to be huge in 2020 and beyond.
The lead singer, Theresa Jarvis, seemed to have a problem with the monitor in her left ear and continually fixed it in place during the set. Despite that obvious distraction, she was a polished and confident frontwoman – clearly enjoying the enthusiastic crowd, blowing kisses back when we screamed the words in her direction.
The penultimate song, All Fired Up, is one of my favourites of 2019 and I expected it to be the closer. However, the set came to a crescendo with the sing-a-long anthem FWTB – during which the leag guitarist passed his guitar up to the balcony and skirted along the girder to play from above the audience.
It made for a thrilling finish to a brilliant performance. Clearly an act on the upswing, I can’t wait to see Yonaka live again.